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8 Tips When Preparing for an OSHA Inspection

Author • Araks

8 Tips When Preparing for an OSHA Inspection

Date: 2022/10/05


What is OSHA inspection?

OSHA inspection is the investigation of a worksite by compliance officers to identify any potential hazards and threats. They conduct a thorough examination to see whether the worksite is aligned with OSHA requirements and have the right to impose penalties in case of violations.

It’s important to know that OSHA inspections are a standard part of the process for any business working with hazardous materials. Some businesses get inspected more often than others. For example, you’ll probably be inspected once or twice a year if you work in construction, manufacturing or other high-risk industries.

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OSHA inspections can be stressful for employees, supervisors and company leaders. But they don’t have to be. With a bit of preparation, you can make your OSHA inspection go smoothly while also identifying areas where you can improve your safety standards and practices. For most businesses, an OSHA inspection is a rare and unexpected event that makes them panic and mess up everything. However, if you’re aware of what to expect from an inspection, you can take steps to prepare for the day when the OSHA inspector rings your doorbell. Here are 8 tips to help you prepare for your next OSHA inspection:


Make sure your safety protocols are standardized and understood by all employees.

First and foremost, you need to be sure that all safety protocols are standardized and are understood by all employees. You don’t want there to be any ambiguity in how or when certain safety protocols apply. If your employees aren’t clear about what is expected of them in the workplace, it can create a lot of unnecessary confusion and it could contribute to a dangerous situation. And, needless to say, confusion about safety protocols is one of the circumstances that can prompt an OSHA inspection. So, make sure that everyone involved in the daily operations of your business has a clear understanding of what is expected of them when it comes to safety practices. If your employees aren’t familiar with your safety protocols, they’re unlikely to know what to do if an OSHA inspector comes to the door. And that could significantly increase the chances of an inspection resulting in citations. Make sure everyone knows what to do if an OSHA inspector shows up.

Ensure you have the correct PPE for every job.

Mandatory PPE and other safety protocols can vary based on the hazards present in your work environment. An OSHA inspector may investigate your business if they notice that you are not requiring your employees to wear PPE that’s appropriate for the hazards present in their work environment. This is why it’s so important for you to have the correct PPE for every job. Your employees should have access to the appropriate PPE for their tasks, and they should be required to wear that PPE every time they are exposed to hazards. There can be cases that certain hazards don’t require the use of any PPE, for example, a hazardous materials clean-up. In such cases make sure your employees are still wearing appropriate PPE while they are in those areas.

Be sure that all training and certifications are up to date.

One of the things that OSHA inspectors are on the lookout for is outdated training and certification records. This can be an indication that certain employees do not have the expertise or knowledge they need to perform their jobs safely. For example, if you have an employee who is certified in confined space entry, and that employee is expected to perform that task on a regular basis, their certification should be fresh. At the very least, it should have been taken within the last three years. If a particular employee’s training or certification is out of date, the inspector may choose to cite you for that.

Confirm your accident reporting process is functioning properly.

Something else that can trigger an OSHA inspection is a lack of clarity in your accident reporting process. According to the OSHA website, employers are required to have an accident prevention program in place that includes a procedure for reporting OSHA recordable injuries and illnesses. You’re also required to have a written accident prevention program that is appropriate for your workplace. Make sure you have a written record of all accidents, as well as the procedure for reporting them to your employees. And confirm that everyone is following that procedure and reporting their accidents as soon as they occur. If you don’t have a formal system in place for recording accidents, that could be a red flag to the OSHA inspector. On the other hand, if you have a system in place, but your employees are not following it, that could also be a red flag.

Be prepared to discuss any deviations from the standard procedure for each task.

Throughout the course of the inspection, the OSHA inspector will be looking for deviations from what is normally done during certain tasks. For example, an inspector might notice that your employees are not following the standard procedure for a confined space entry operation. They might also be checking to see if your PPE policies are being followed correctly. In such cases, the inspector will likely ask you why you have chosen to deviate from the standard procedure. Be prepared to discuss the reasons behind any deviations from the standard procedures you’re following. This is also a good opportunity to point out any areas where you think the standard procedure could be improved.

Make sure you can explain why you’ve chosen a certain PPE or safety protocol.

Another way an OSHA inspector can cite you is if they notice that you are not following appropriate PPE or safety protocol. This could mean that your policies don’t match the hazards present in your workplace – or it could mean that your employees are not wearing the PPE they need to be wearing. In either case, the inspector may decide to issue a citation. Be prepared to explain why you have chosen to implement particular PPE or safety protocols. If you are wearing safety shoes, for example, be prepared to explain why those shoes are the best choice for your workplace. And be prepared to explain why your employees are wearing gloves and/or goggles. If you are using a respirator, be prepared to explain why it is the appropriate PPE for the hazards present in your workplace.

Be ready to defend your business practices during an OSHA inspection.

At the end of the day, you’re liable for everything that happens in your workplace. And that includes the decisions that you make and the safety protocols that you implement. So be ready to defend your business practices during an OSHA inspection. If you see an inspector making note of something that you feel is being misapplied or misinterpreted, don’t be afraid to speak up and defend your position. The safety of your employees and the effectiveness of your business operations depend on the decisions you make and the safety protocols you put in place. So, be sure to put the necessary time and effort into preparing your business for an OSHA inspection.

Trust the work to professionals

Even if you know the exact steps of preparing for OSHA inspection, it can still seem confusing and frightening because you are dealing with legal regulations which assume huge fines in case of violations. But no need to worry! In this ever-growing world there is a solution for everything. And we are here to give you the ultimate solution of OSHA compliance. With Smart Training you will have every aspect of OSHA compliance covered- OSHA training courses, written programs, compliance checklists, job hazard analysis. With Platinum+ you’ll also get your own compliance adviser and a yearly compliance inspection. And most importantly if you receive any fines during an OSHA inspection, we will pay them.If you want to learn more, you can schedule a demo and our compliance advisor will address all your questions individually.

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